Hi Natasha, firstly well done with the album, can I ask you : Were you precious with it in production, and how much were you involved in that side...?
I was fully involved from the beginning. The album and single were recorded at Narrow Water Studios, in the grounds of Narrow Water Castle, Warrenpoint. N, Ireland where Tom Newman [producer] lived at the time in a courtyard off the castle and Steve Fearnley the engineer/co producer who owned Narrow Water Studios in another pld courtyard in the grounds of the castle. It was a beautiful setting in the grounds of the castle overlooking Carlingford Loch...Unfortunately, as I was working every most days in the studio I did not have many days when I could really enjoy this beautiful part of the country.
I was there for all of the recording, from the off. From complete silence on the desk through to the finished tracks..I am always present throughout when I record and throughout all of the mixes..I want to ensure the mood and atmosphere of the track stays true to the emotion and I am always coming up with ideas for sounds any additional vocals that I think will enhance, the track.
I was there for every drum beat, instrumentation and every other sound we have recorded on the album and then throughout the mixes in Ireland and on the Isle of Wight where Tom Newman now lives. [Tom produced Iko Iko and my 1st hit album 'Captured, he also produced, md'd and played on Tubular Bells].
When I am recording, I can capture the very first place I go when I write a song that sets this mood,feel and emotion of the song and I want to recreate all of this and more when I am in the studio.. I take myself back to the first time I wrote and sang the song, what it is about and how I felt when I wrote it...I take myself to that place...Fortunately this is relatively easy for me to do. I never change much of what I did when I wrote the song....just embellish.
It has to feel right and be as honest and natural as it was intended at birth. I am lucky I can do this and feel the emotion I felt when I wrote the song. The rest is down to instruments/sounds that I want to use in the track and working with the Producer and engineer to achieve my vision. It's like painting a picture. I keep a very open mind in the studio and I am flexible but I know what works and what does'nt and what I need to convey in the song. I am pretty easy to work with in the studio. It is a wonderful experience when it all comes together.
Fortunately, Tom Newman and Steve Fearnley were on the same page as me. We all worked extremely well together, and Tom and Steve brought a lot to the table.
It was a joy to work with them and to be back in the studio with Tom , who produced ‘Iko Iko’ and my first hit album 'Captured' back then. Tom had previously produced the iconic 'Tubular Bells' album and has always had faith in me. We reconnected a few years ago with a plan for me to record another album with him. I got a bit held up with several obstacles along the way but we did it.
The whole recording process was all very honest, natural and organic...I was working with kindred spirits.
I am writing all of the time , I wrote 2 new tracks when I was in Ireland in the studio. One was 'Hook Line and Sinker' off the album and the other one was 'Wake Up'. One of the three tracks I did not get the chance to go back to Ireland to finish due to hospital treatment..I will finish these tracks and bring them out when as soon as I can. I have no shortage of songs and I continue to write.
Pic Link - Somehow, New Album by Natasha England Review
It’s clearly a very personal album, would you say that some of the songs are old friends or was it the case of starting fresh with the concept and letting the song writing focus on that? I do draw a lot from personal experience and this album is no exception. If it is not about me, it is about someone I know or have met, often the subject matter affects everyone or someone they know at some time. I don't plan anything when I write, I just get in the zone and let it all unfold naturally then I can write with or without music. I want to inspire listeners to rise above adversity, what does not kill you most definitely makes you stronger. Music lifts and inspires me. I can just sing a melody and go from there, whatever way it happens, accompanied by music or just a melody on its own, it seems to work well for me. I can adlib really well and most of my adlibs are the finished lyrics of songs...I am writing all the time and I have many more albums worth of material that I need to record and get out.. I wrote two new tracks when I was in Ireland. One was 'Hook Line and Sinker' off the album [check out new lyric video on youtube] and the other one was 'Wake Up'. One of the three tracks I did not get the chance to go back to Ireland to finish due to hospital treatment..I will finish these tracks and bring them out as soon as I can. The album is therefore a little ballad heavy but these tracks are all very different. They all deal with the many emotions that surround the minefield that is relationships. This relates to many thousands of people not just me. I tell it how it is, it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all, but there are lessons to be learned and you can move on to a much happier place. I would inspire others to make positive change. I draw from both personal experience and/or the experiences of others. I have many songs that I have written that I want to record and release, the ones on the album were a small selection of these. I will never stop writing. This album and the music contained in represent a part of me and my music. I love all genres of music and all forms of expression when it conveys a true and positive message...whether ballad or dance. I’ve asked this question recently but I find it fascinating- do songs take on a new life when you perform them live for the first time? There is nothing better than performing live in front of an audience. If you can capture the essence of the song and music from it's birth it can be an amazing experience and inspiring for you and the audience. You know immediately if you are connecting to the audience and it is a truly wonderful experience when you do. You would equally know if one of the songs was not working and you would make this work in future or rework it or take it out of the set...So the audience is precious in so many ways. When you play live and the band are connected you also have the opportunity to extend the song and to change it for the occasion for more effect. You can have fun with it and the audience. When you have a great gig and you have performed well and the audience are happy you can not beat the buzz.....it makes all the hard work, sweat and tears worth it and all other obstacles in life fade into obscurity….It is so real, unlike parts of the Industry...
Pic Link - Platform Records.com
You’ve been on both sides of the music industry would you say that the artist is having to pay for the massive changes, on a commercial level? (Spotify - Apple Music) Yes it affects up and coming new artistes. The big high profile artists get their fare share from these companies but the struggling new bands and artists get nothing or very very little and all the time their music is being given away for free for other peoples profit. It is tough for new artists trying to make it outside of being on a Major label. What with illegal downloads, Spotify, Apple Music and others streaming sites and platforms, your music is free to whoever wants it.. It can appear to some new artists that they are just literally giving their music away and there is nothing in return. Despite their talent they are really struggling. Even live work is affected as so many clubs have numerous bands playing in one night and none of them get paid. In order to make any money the bands have to bring squads of friends and fans, it is just another rouse by these clubs to get live music for free at the expense of the artistes. If these companies like Spotify etc.. have the world juke boxes and people can access the complete catalogue whenever they want to for a minimum amount or indeed free , then why would anyone ever buy an album or single again. The only artistes that make money are high profile already successful artistes and X Factor or similar talent show winners...It is a very sad state of affairs... Finally have you got any plans to tour? You have answered this really, but Is playing live something that comes natural to you? Yes, as I said previously nothing can compare to playing live, it's honest appreciation and your playing to real people not industry people. Real people generally know what they like and it is not always what is Play Listed on radio. I see many new young bands and singer/songwriters who are so deserving of airplay, but they don't stand a hope in hell unless they get signed to a Major Record Label. Independent Record companies have difficulty competing with the vast budgets and influence that these Majors' have. You can have the best voice, song or band in the world but if the music does not get airplay, no one hears it and you 'don't exist'. Getting airplay is made harder as most playlists are now compiled in London and syndicated to the stations up and down the UK. Most DJ's don't really have a say., There are not too many John Peel's out there to champion new bands and artists and Independent labels. Being out there performing live is the only other way of being heard and getting your music heard if you are not signed to a major label. I am in the process of putting a band together. It is early days and it is all sounding great at rehearsals but we have much to do. I cannot wait to get out there and perform in front of a live audience. Thank you for your support, I wish you everything that is good now and in the future. Keep the passion and let the Love and the Music flow on.... Natasha England x
Thank you so much Natasha it's been a pleasure - Fran x PS I hope you enjoyed the album...